A couple of champions are standing out at Worlds 2023, but perhaps not for the best reasons.

Before JD Gaming’s round three match against LNG Esports, Aatrox was picked three times by three different top laners against three different champions in the Swiss stage, but none resulted in victory.

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Kai’Sa as well, who is frequently chosen against Xayah, holds a 30% win rate in the Swiss stage. Before game three of this series, pro players picked her nine times, all of which resulted in defeat.

In the final game of JD Gaming versus LNG Esports, with Worlds 2023 playoffs qualification on the line, JDG drafted these two champions despite their questionable place in the meta — to surprisingly great success.

369’s Aatrox had an uneventful laning phase, then he teleported in 1v4 at dragon

JD Gaming at the League of Legends World Championship 2023 Swiss Features Day on October 16, 2023 in Seoul, South Korea
Credit: Riot Games

Let me paint the picture for you: after the laning phase ended, JDG were trailing two kills to four. Opposing mid laner Lee “Scout” Ye-chan’s Ahri was also sitting on a nice 300 gold bounty with a perfect 3/0/1 KDA, holding more kills than anyone else in the game.

Both teams were tied in dragons, though LNG did have a slight gold lead.

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At the third Hextech Dragon spawn, JDG decided to contest.

LNG started the dragon and got it down to half HP before Bai “369” Jia-Hao — who had just completed his first two items by forgoing a boots upgrade — decided to teleport in on a ward on the opposite side of the river away from his team.

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Timing Q perfectly, Fu “Hang” Ming-Hang’s Nautilus landed a hook just as 369’s Aatrox appeared. Completely isolated and surrounded, they chained all their crowd control on him in a 1v4, bringing him down to a quarter health.

Rushing to his aid, Lou “MISSING” Yun-Feng’s Rakan jumped in with Grand Entrance and The Quickness. At the same time, Goredrinker and Sterak’s Gage helped 369 get back up to half health, which was enough for JDG to turn the fight around in their favor.

Taking out two, they forced LNG to retreat and give up the dragon.

A pivotal moment in the game, this one big play from 369 swung momentum in JDG’s favor. An opportune shutdown on Scout’s Ahri in mid lane opened up the map even more, prompting JDG to dive for the second turret into Baron.

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Using Baron buff, they knocked on LNG’s base. Even though Ruler’s Kai’Sa did not survive the final fight, 369’s Aatrox was well-equipped to clean up and end the game with two other teammates.

He posted a positive 4/1/9 KDA at the end and had dealt 22.5% of the team’s total damage, the equivalent of each AP and AD carry. Goredrinker and Sterak’s Gage for the win.

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